According to Sarah Buckwalter of Organizing U, with a little motivation and a plan, you can organize any room in about 30 minutes. Buckwalter was the keynote speaker at VVBW’s May event, hosted at Sauce on the Creek in Avon. Attendees were motivated to declutter as she virtually guided them through each area of the home and office.
Buckwalter suggested starting with organization supplies, including a camera to take before and after photos of the space. Photos can help you remember how you organized the space, especially once the clutter tries to return.
- Storage boxes or bins
- Trash bags
- Markers, scissors, sticky notes
- File folders
- Notebook, or a pad and pen
- Cleaning supplies
- Label maker or labels
Her helpful hints for the office included corraling your supplies, designating a bin for incoming mail, and processing paper pronto. Streamline your files, whether paper or electronic, and regularly file or scan archival papers.
Garage or storage space can be tackled by starting small and purging as you go. Buckwalter advised sorting items into zones by category, including an area for items to be donated or sold. Most importantly, said Buckwalter, take action to get those items out of the garage.
The kitchen is for cooking, so keep the counters clear and create easy access to items. Toss out expired and unwanted food, recycle bottles and cans, and weed out any containers that are cracked or missing lids. If you haven’t used that waffle maker in a year or two, it may be time to donate it.
In this age of digital photos, there are still many of us who store negatives and hard copies of old photos. Buckwalter suggested tossing or deleting duplicates and bad photos, and share special photos with family or friends. Some people hold on to memorabilia with bad memories or no personal significance, and she suggested giving those items to individuals who will appreciate the gift.
It can be easy to stay organized, said Buckwalter, but you must schedule time to stay on top of your organization systems. She offered the following tips.
- Clean up as you go
- Keep your systems simple
- Make it easy to declutter
- Get rid of unwanted items ASAP
- Follow the one in, one out rule (How many t-shirts do you really need?)
- It doesn’t have to be perfect.